Indications are, we are approaching the end of the nectar flow. First it’s not really the end of the nectar flow. Rather it is a sharp decrease in nectar availability IN EXCESS of colony day to day needs.

Our local www.hivetool.net monitored hive shows recent changes in the weights during the daytime nectar gathering hours. What appears now is 1) sharp decrease when foragers leave the hive 2) sharp increase in weight as they return with nectar during the first half of the day 3) followed by afternoon decrease when nectar becomes scarce yet evaporation of in hive nectar continues, followed by 4) sharp increase in weight at end of the day when foragers return. Finally, 5) decrease in hive weight over night as nectar is steadily evaporated into honey.

Other indicators: Increase in bee irritability especially in the hot afternoon hours. Some foragers are staying inside without the strong scout signals of nectar sources. Foragers are older bees with and a bit more defensiveness as a rule. Expect a steady increase in more defensiveness as nectar flow continues to slow, especially in the afternoons. Depending on the size of your colony you may have 30,000 foragers willing to bounce you out of their hive. Besides you look like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man anyway.

Bees leave the hive each morning looking for the biggest nectar bang for their buck as indicated by the findings of the scouts. After they clean that up they will scout and find lesser sources. I have noticed honey bees in late afternoon on sparkleberry and magnolia which typically are not attractive to them in the morning hours when something better is available. The fact that they are foraging 2nd class venues is indicative of preferred nectar plants drying up early in the day. A nice evening or nigh time rain may help this.

That’s my report on the Midlands as we approach the end of the flow. We really need to start prepping first year beekeepers with regard to changes in their beekeeping post nectar flow. i.e. feeding, water sources, protective equipment, mite treatment. There’s always something to do!